My response to the well-compiled Tomato Nation 25 and Over list:
- Remember to write thank-you notes. The written word is a lost art and most youngsters under age 25 think texting ‘THX PLAYA’ does the trick. Taking the time to send off a stamped, hand-written note (especially after a job interview) shows that you are considerate and not a serial killer.
- Do not invite yourself to stay with friends when you travel anymore. Being as I have a deep aversion to inconvenience (both for myself and those around me), this has never been a problem for me. I would much rather crash at a hotel even if family/friends are close by.
- Do not expect friends to help you move anymore. I only expect my friends to help me move things if they stayed at my house due to a bout of excessive drinking the night before. Asking someone to help you move a roll-top desk with a crippling hangover should not be an issue if said someone yaked in your sink twelve hours earlier.
- Develop a physical awareness of your surroundings. I pride myself on assessing my surroundings and acting accordingly. Alcohol often kills this one for me.
- Be on time. I generally show up on time to most events. If I am late to anything longer than thirty minutes, I will blame my infant child who cannot speak.
- Have enough money. Nothing pisses me off more than somebody who never brings money out in card or cash from. You did not leave your wallet at home. You are just a cheap bastard.
- Know how to calculate the tip. It is not difficult to multiply the bill by two to get the 20% tip equivalent. If you do not have the mental capacity to calculate a tip without the aid of a calculator or cell phone, eating out is probably the least of your worries.
- Do not share the crazy dream you had last night with anyone but your mental wellness professional. Depends on what the dream is about and what your intentions are by sharing said dream. A sex dream with the intention of getting yourself laid? Absolutely. Murdering all you co-workers with a machine gun during a casual Friday with the intention of getting a raise? Probably not.
- Learn to walk in heels. Only applies to me if I patronize an East German sex club.
- Have at least one good dress-up outfit. Before the wife cleaned me up, taught me how to dress and expanded my wardrobe, I owned only one suit at the behest of my mother. It was my all-purpose suit that saw many weddings, funerals and job interviews. I could sometimes tell the last time I wore it by reaching in the inner-coat pocket and finding an old event program.
- Do as invitations ask you. I am usually not formally invited to anything and if I am the wife handles all the RSVP-ing and gifting. It is better this way.
- Know how. Sadly I think most people 25 and under grew up with every convenience afforded to them and would perish in the wilderness after being given a knife and a water source. Problem solving is lost on a generation that did not have to solve any problems because their parents were afraid if they failed it would crush there delicate sensibilities. I like to think I know enough about enough to be dangerous.
- Don’t use your friends. This should be on an age 5 and over list. You should never use your friends unless they have an awesome surround-sound system.
- Have something to talk about besides college or your job. As the many people in my life can attest, I have plenty to talk about besides college and my job.
- Give and receive favors graciously. As my Dad said while scolding me after an excessive sports celebration in my youth, “Act like you have been there before.”
- Drinking until you throw up is no longer properly a point of pride. It depends on how good the scotch is.
- Have a real trash receptacle, real Kleenex, and, if you smoke, a real ashtray. Toilet paper serves multiple purposes (in my opinion); nose blowing and ass-wiping. If you smoke? You will be dead before me. That and you should properly dispose of your butts. My yard is not that place.
- Universal quiet hours do in fact apply to you. Working from home I keep weird hours and I keep the volume down during the quiet hours without even realizing it.
- Take care of yourself. Workout a few times. Take a shower every other day. Do not eat Taco Bell three times a week. Repeat.
- Rudeness is not a signifier of your importance. It is when you are from California.
The wife and I are officially prepared for our spawn to make its grand entrance into this world. The nursery is littered with the spoils of numerous baby showers, bathed in gender-neutral tones and is decorated with a ridiculous amount of monkeys. We have registered with the hospital and have taken assorted labor preparation classes. I have read two great books (Punk Rock Dad and Babywise) that have given me honest perspectives on fatherhood and read half of one terrible book (The Expectant Father) before throwing it across the bedroom and calling the author a “new-age queer.” All we need now is the living, goddamn baby (the wife is due on April 3). In an effort to celebrate the last few weeks of our baby-free lives, the wife and I are spending this Saturday night at the Brown Palace Hotel for a romantic, in-city getaway. It is there where we will renew our love affair and my wife will get her pregnant lady bubble bath on while I drain cocktails at the Ship Tavern and watch opening weekend of the NCAA college basketball tournament.
Last Monday my boss and I had a Come-To-Jesus chat regarding my complete lack of enthusiasm for my current position. While I informed him my lack of passion did not hinder me from going through the motions (just ask my ex-girlfriend She Who Will Not Be Named), I did acknowledge that I was completely burnt out. Many factors led to my burnout; frequent late paychecks, a complete lack of any tangible project process (i.e. massive undertakings were given one line explanations like “Client Center back-end development: 36 hours”), lack of established deadlines and milestones (other than early 2008 or late 2008), non-payment of contractors/vendors and a general malaise regarding client/vendor relationships. I was issued an ultimatum to decide by that Friday whether or not I wanted to stay with the company. When Friday rolled around, I quit, packed up all my shit and went over to DJ’s house to get drunk and play poker (in a rare Ex-Data Slaughterhouse Employees Game victory, I took home $60). After a tumultuous career path over the past three years, I am finally growing some balls and committing full-time to Broz Design. I have already nabbed two and a half retainer clients (the other half happening once I get off my ass and draw up a contract) that will pay me more all while working less and living the pants-free dream. My pregnant wife is thankfully awesome and supportive of my pursuits and deserves a new Lexus once I start rolling in the dough. It is either that or we will be selling our unborn child on the Mexican black market to make ends meet. Wish me luck either way.
Update: Cafe Press has their panties in a twist over my Obama Jesus illustration and has temporarily taken the store items down while we haggle over their content usage policy via email.
As of post time and last night’s presidential debate, I am still undecided on who to cast my vote for come November. My opinion of McCain has changed little over the past few months (still an old war dog) and while I like the idea of Obama (the man, not the Messiah), his rabid, cult-ish following makes me not want to vote for him. Case and point: while out knocking back a million beers a few Fridays ago with Johnny Ballgame, an intoxicated young woman approached us at the bar and asked for matches to light her cigarette(s). I handed her a pack from the bar ashtray and idle banter soon segued into “Who are you guys voting for?” which segued into her Barack Obama recruitment routine. She informed us shortly thereafter she had been canvasing the area neighborhood on a grassroots campaign to recruit Independent voters to vote Obama. Annoyed at the fact she broke cardinal drinking rule #2 (no politics) and ruined the excellent buzz I had going, I decided to push her buttons. What followed was an eloquent verbal tirade on my part extolling the virtues of one Ralph Nader and concluding with, “I think that is who Jesus would vote for if he were alive today.” The young woman blinked, took a drag of her fifth cigarette, pointed her finger at me and quipped, “Fuck Jesus! What did he ever do for this world?! Vote Obama!” and then stormed off. This cute story inspired me to create the Obama Jesus campaign. Do my unborn child a favor and buy as much Obama Jesus gear as humanely possible. Daddy needs to buy some Pampers.
Flying on 9/11 may not be the smartest thing I have ever done (then again neither was this. Or this. Or this), but, as the rabid Carolina Hurricanes fan sitting next to me on the plane said yesterday “If we do not fly on 9/11 then the fucking terrorists win.” Preach on, guy who loves Rod Brind’Amour, preach on (note to Perez: ‘Canes fan was a former Philadelphia Flyers fan which almost made me stop talking to him until I asked him why he stopped rooting for the Flyers. His response, “Because my wife and I have been living in Raleigh for the past seven years and, well, fuck the Flyers“). Sitting in the CLT, here are some highlights from my recent business trip to North Carolina:
- North Carolina is green and lush. I mean really green and lush. I guess I am too used to the yellow-brown hue Colorado is covered in year-round. There are a plethora of pine tress in the greater Raleigh-Durham area, too. I was not aware the Carolinas were so friendly to the coniferous tree family.
- Various topics discussed with our client that was not related to his website: Carolina Panthers football, the point spread on the UNC-Rutgers game, Indian hotel investors, hairy pussy, bald pussy, Viagra and wine.
- Various topics discussed with our client related to his website that had nothing to do with design or development: their T1 connection.
- Various topics discussed with our client related to his website that had to do with design or development: none.
- I enjoyed a ridiculous meal at a five-star resort called Herons. I gorged myself on a tremendous meal of sea bass, hush puppies, numerous expensive glasses of wine and sweet potato pie.
- How many times our client’s partner urged me to “beat my children with a strap” upon telling him that my wife was pregnant: 3.
- How many times our client’s partner passed on the restaurant valet service even though it was free: 2.
- The next time I will be to invited fly to Raleigh and “talk about the website”: 6 months.
The first trimester has been a breeze for me thus far. The wife on the other hand, has been experiencing severe exhaustion, hormonal mood swings, headaches, that hungover morning feeling minus the enjoyment of a night consuming numerous gin and tonics and ravenous hunger. Non-pregnant wife has always been a small eater, happily subsisting for weeks on nothing but ice chips and lettuce. Pregnant wife on the other hand, can put away the grub. Thus far her predominant pregnancy craving has been tacos. We actually rolled to Taco Bell late one night because “Momma had a hankerin'” (the wife last made a Run For The Border during her junior year of college a decade ago). Last week after our first doctor’s appointment, we spent over $30 dollars at Little Anitas on just tacos. I pride myself on my taco consumption and plan on matching the pregnant wife’s totals anytime she sends me to an area taco stand during the wee hours of the morning. This is a sacrifice I am willing to make on behalf of my unborn child. I think this is the definition of unconditional love.
Friday. The wife and I attend the 2008 Punk Rocks show at Red Rocks. The band lineup includes NOFX, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bouncing Souls, Street Dogs and young Denver skate punks Frontside Five (the Circle Jerks are a no-show). I soon recognize how old I am when I breeze through beer lines in mere minutes. I soon learn that new punk kids like smoking weed way more than old punk kids. NOFX, Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Bouncing Souls are still awesome. The Street Dogs are the opposites of awesome due to an hour and a half set and a fifteen minute dissertation on who the Ramones are and why they are so important to punk music. The only way to make their set less cliche would have be for the lead singer to not remove his shirt before his Ramones tribute song only to reveal a strategically planned Ramones shirt underneath. I conclude that six hour concerts and $7 beers are not nearly as fun in my thirties as they were in my twenties.
Saturday. Enter the annual neighborhood pool luau. We represent a respectable drinking crew and my next door neighbor’s classic rock cover band melts faces. Our HOA is awesome because they allow (tolerate) my next door neighbor to wheel an ice-cold keg over to the pool to serve free beer. I soon realize that inflatable monkeys cannot sustain the belly-flop weight of a grown man from a diving board. Post-luau we torch a fire in the backyard pit and the wife provides ingredients for ‘smores. Three people fall asleep in their chairs. I conclude that staying up late and drinking until intoxication two nights in a row is not nearly as fun in my thirties as it was in my twenties.
Sunday. My annual fantasy football draft goes down in the living room. Being as this is the fifteenth year of my league’s existence and the same team owners have been in said league for the past six years, I expect the draft to take no more than two hours. Four hours and eight cases of beer later, the draft concludes after much humor, animosity and stupidity (this sums up my fantasy football league perfectly: upon the draft’s conclusion one team owner loudly proclaimed, “I have to get going. I am late for marriage counseling.”) Steak, potatoes and a gigantic apple pie from Costco are then decimated in less than twenty minutes. I conclude that sports gambling and NFL football viewing are not nearly as fun in my thirties as they were in my twenties.
Two years ago today you foolishly took my hand in marriage. During that time, I have been unemployed twice (1, 2), made the neighbors suspect I was beating you when yelling “You dirty bitch!” at the computer while designing a website, bulged a disc, come home late countless nights from post-hockey drinking benders, continued my subscription to numerous smut magazines, remained dutifully absent from all Monday night plans during the fall/winter to drink with my Fantasy Football buddies, run down a couch on the highway and have never let you hold the television remote in my presence. In short, you are still the amazing, accepting and funny person that I fell in love with. I appreciate you more with each passing day and I love you like Extreme; More Than Words. Happy second anniversary, honey. It is the cotton anniversary so let us pick up some righteous sheets that make it feel as if we were sleeping atop a marshmallow cloud. Or we can save our money and just get a giant box of maxi pads. Those commercials make them look like giant stingrays swimming. Just saying.
Friday. The wife and I attend a homemade rib bonanza at Team Muff’s house where we drain shitty Mexican beer and play a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit 90s Edition. Proof that we have all turned into our parents: we began questioning the “correctness” of card answers and commenting on how staying up until 11:30 seemed “late.”
Saturday. The wife and I attend a barbecue at DJs which we learn upon walking into his house is actually his birthday party. The wife gets angry at me for not knowing it was his birthday (even though it was on the Evite) and I explain to her that knowing when your guy friends birthday is is totally gay, and if I bought a gift for him we would have to move in together and begin re-decorating his house in the finest tapestries and velvets. I down a homemade chili beer that I regret four hours later, eat some swine and watch some UFC fighting. The wife and I decided to duck out early to get some sleep. When we arrive back at home, Team Hofkamp stops over with a twelve pack of shitty Mexican beer and cigarettes. We hang out in our backyard for an hour until my neighbor invites us over the fence to share in his raging backyard chimenea fire and more shitty Mexican beers and cigarettes. Four hours and eight beers later, we go to bed.
Sunday. The wife and I walk over to the movie multiplex to catch the new Indiana Jones joint. On the way, we stop to view the recently dedicated (but unfinished) Armed Forces Tribute Garden. We grab a burger and some Lumpy Dogs at the Rock Bottom Brewery before watching yet another abortion written by George Lucas. Why do you hate me George Lucas? Aliens and UFOs? Shia LaBeouf as some sort of 1950s hood with a Pompadour and switchblade swinging on vines with monkeys? Next thing you know, you will be telling me that the force is some kind of blood disorder. Oh. Right.
Monday. The wife, myself and 52,000 other people run the Bolder Boulder under the cover of cool mist and fog. My back (almost fully healed from the bulged disc) feels great and I finish in just over an hour. We retire to the homestead for a much needed shower and nap. Later we attend two more Memorial Day barbecues that feel like autumn barbecues due to the inclement weather. I play ping pong. I play foosball. I play 3-square with a beer in my hand. I go to sleep wishing I celebrated three day weekends more often.